Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to Wash a Cat by Rebecca M. Hale

In the real world, if you find human remains you're supposed to let the police know about it. But this isn't the real world, it's a book world where reality has nothing to do with anything. Oh, and the author gave the main character her same name, middle initial and all.

So, two great big strikes against the book. Third strike: it's badly, badly written and its plot is a mess and the characters are all obnoxious. That's several extra strikes, actually. I have no idea why I read the whole book.

When her Uncle Oscar dies, the accountant who goes unnamed until the very last line of the book inherits his business: an antique shop full of junk. She also inherits a key shaped like a tulip. Almost immediately, she-who-was-not-named-until-the-end starts discovering weird discrepancies about her uncle's death, including the discovery that the "preliminary autopsy" was never performed on her uncle, several people showing up suddenly to give her clues left recently by her uncle "in case anything happens to me," and several other people showing up to give her veiled threats. Oh, and she has two cats.

The plot is a godawful mess, but the characters are worse. I hated all the characters; they're all over-the-top without a smidgen of likability among them all. (Well, the cats are cute.) I especially hated the nosy neighbor Monty, who fancies himself a sleuth trying to uncover the mystery of an old tunnel rumored to be on the property. I hated Monty with the white-hot fury of a thousand suns. The main character isn't any better, though. She's a real wimp, totally without gumption. She's always having dizzy spells, or feeling faint or woozy or frightened or weepy or otherwise having to sit down and plunge into a flashback. She never does anything else and she's dumb as a stump.

But the writing! My god, the writing is bad. There are so many adjectives and adverbs in every sentence that it's hard to figure out what exactly is going on. Characters fidget around constantly while they talk. If the fidgeting and the adverbs/adjectives had all been edited out, the book would have been 50 pages slimmer--and it still wouldn't make any damn sense.

B&N link


Kelly Robinson said...

Kinky Friedman gives his main character his same name, but it doesn't bug me, because he really is such a character.

K.C. Shaw said...

Yeah, but Kinky Friedman is a better writer. (Certainly couldn't be worse.)